Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin with Nothing More and Bad Wolves
A Decade of Destruction Tour
The Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
September 6, 2018
Rain is an insidious thing. It changes plans. It causes tides to rise and causes floods. In the case of rock concerts at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, this summer alone it has caused, due to the accompaniment of lightning, the cancellation of the Rob Zombie/Marilyn Manson show and the delay of numerous other performances.
On Thursday, September 6, the rain, which on this evening could actually have been called a deluge, caused the delay of the Five Finger Death Punch and Breaking Benjamin show at the intimate outdoor arena in Wantagh, NY. It also caused the re-jiggering of the set times and the abbreviation of performances. Due to the four acts on the bill, the venue opened early and the performances began at 6pm. Had the venue kept to its usual 7pm start time, Nothing More, Bad Wolves and possibly Breaking Benjamin might not have been able to perform. Unfortunately, for Nothing More, the rain came just as they hit the stage and intensified quickly. Sadly, the San Antonio, TX rock band was only able to perform one sung before venue officials announced that the show would be delayed until the storm subsided…and they were lucky to get that.
The night started off promisingly with a high energy set from Bad Wolves who recently released its version of the Cranberries’ “Zombie.” The band, which is comprised of vocalist Tommy Vext, guitarists Chris Cain and Doc Coyle, former bassist Kyle Konkiel and drummer John Boecklin, delivered a hard-rocking set. Highlights included “Officer Down,” “Learn to Live” and “Better the Devil” as well as the Cranberies classic which closed the set. Vext dedicated the song to the Cranberries’ late singer Delores O’Riordan who had she not passed in 2017 would have been celebrating her 47th birthday.
The skies began to darken just as Nothing More was to appear. The Grammy nominated foursome (Jonny Hawkins on vocals, Mark Vollelunga on guitar, Ben Anderson on drums and Daniel Oliver on bass, was only able to play “Do You Really Want It” before the rains forced the delay.
After the storms passed, and the venue reopened, allowing those stranded in the parking lot in their vehicles to enter and those who sought refuge under the stands to return to their seats, the evening’s festivities resumed. Unfortunately for the members of Nothing More (and its fans), the band’s set was scrapped. Breaking Benjamin, it was announced would be taking the stage when the performances resumed.
Breaking Benjamin features Benjamin Burnley (vocals/guitar), Jasen Rauch (lead guitar), Keith Wallen (rhythm guitar), Aaron Bruch (bass), and Shaun Foist (drums). Following the drop of a stage wide curtain, the Wilkes Barre, PA band known for its angsty lyrics, swelling choruses, and heavy, crunching guitar riffs did not disappoint. The extremely soggy patrons who filled the damp, soggy venue were thrilled to their core as Breaking Benjamin delivered an abbreviated twelve-song set the featured “So Cold,” “I Will Not Bow,” “Never Again,” “Blow Me Away,” “Breath” and “Torn In Two.”
Other highlights included: the Nirvana cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (which was part of a 10-minute medley opened with The Imperial March” and also featured covers of Tool’s “Schism ,” Pantera’s “Walk, and Metallica’s “Sad But True”), Foist’s tasty drum solo and when Burnley brought two little boys on stage for a song—giving the kids bragging rights for life. Even though the curfew would be extended beyond the “normal” 11pm wrap-up time, Breaking Benjamin’s set was truncated. Because of the shortened set, there was no encore, Burnley thanked the crowd (and assured them that the band would be back soon) and the band closed its set with “The Diary of Jane.”
After a very short intermission, during which the stagehands raced to organize Five Finger Death Punch’s theatrical set-up, the band hit the stage to “I Love You,” the Barney theme song. Lead singer Ivan Moody’s mic stand was a silverplated spinal column topped off with a skull and a revolver that hen the microphone. Decked out in a skeleton costume, Jeremy Spencer and his drumset was all-but engulfed at the bottom large skull with huge criss-crossed baseball bats—creating an amazing update of a pirates’ skull and crossbones jolly roger logo.
Moody, Spencer, Jason Hook (guitar), Zoltan Bathory (guitar) and Chris Kael (bass) opened with a powerful version of “Lift Me Up.” Highlights of the evening’s hard and heavy set included: “Trouble,” “Wash It All Away,” “Jekyll and Hyde” and the cover of Bad Company’s eponymously titled song (which was dedicated to those in the U.S Military. Following “Bad Company” Moody and Hook toned it down a bit with acoustic performances of “Wrong Side of Heaven” and “Remember Everything.” The full band returned for a raucous version of “Burn MF.”
Following “Burn MF,” things got really interesting. At approximately 10 minutes to 11pm, the band played its exhilarating cover of the Offspring’s “Gone Away.” This later part of the evening would prove to be an amazing blast of classic Rock ‘n’ Roll “FU” attitude as Moody announced in no uncertain terms that he did not care about the venue’s 11pm curfew. He drove this point home at precisely 11 o’clock when he smashed the stage clock to bits with a baseball bat.
The band then delivered a blistering version of “Under and Over It.” Moody took the opportunity to talk about himself and his sobriety and recovery. He asked audience members if they were in recovery. Many responded that they were. Moody then praised those brave enough respond yeas and nod in affirmation. The final performance of the evening was a blisteringly powerful version of “The Bleeding,” which was dedicated to those in recovery.
When the stage lights came up, it was well past 11pm. The band members came forward and took their bows, waved to the crowd and spent a few moments talking to the lucky fans that remained in front of the stage.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon